Musician Naira Marley gets N2m bail

By AdvocateNews on 31/05/2019

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Naira Marley in white t-shirt
Naira Marley in white t-shirt

The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday granted a musician, Azeez Fashola (aka Naira Marley), N2millon bail with two sureties in the like sum.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo ruled that one of the sureties must be on Grade Level 10 in the federal or state employ.

The other surety must have a landed property within the court’s jurisdiction, he added.

The judge directed the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to verify the bail terms.

He adjourned till October 22 for trial.

EFCC arraigned Naira Marley on May 20 for alleged credit card fraud.

He was charged with 11 counts of violating the Cyber Crimes Act of 2015, to which he pleaded not guilty.

Also mentioned in the charge is Yad Isril, said to be at large.

The musician risks seven years in jail if found guilty.

Defence counsel Mr. Olalekan Ojo (SAN), who led no fewer than eight other lawyers, prayed the court to grant the musician bail on liberal terms.

He argued that as a celebrity, the defendant would not jump bail.

Ojo gave a Yoruba proverb that ‘’A person cannot steal the trumpet that belongs to the king because he has nowhere to blow it.”

Citing relevant authorities as well as a Supreme Court decision, Ojo urged the court to grant Naira Marley bail on liberal terms.

He said the law provided for a prison term of not more than seven years for the offence, adding that it was bailable.

But, EFCC counsel Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo opposed the bail application on the grounds that the defendant was a “flight risk” and that granting him bail would send a wrong signal to the public.

He said there was an upsurge in cybercrime popularly termed “yahoo yahoo” in Nigeria, which he noted had dented the country’s image.

The prosecutor added that as a celebrity, the defendant’s conduct had a multiplier effect on the youth who looked up to him as a role model.

Oyedepo prayed the court to deny the musician bail.

Ruling, Justice Oweibo said that the reasons adduced by prosecution were not strong enough to warrant denial of bail.

EFCC said the defendant committed the offence on November 26, 2018, December 11, 2018 and May 10.

The commission said he conspired with others to use access card numbered 42658840359191132 issued to other persons in a bid to obtain gain.

EFCC said Naira Marley, with intent to defraud, possessed a counterfeit card numbered 4921819410257431, on May 10.

The commission said he also used access card numbered 5264711020433662 issued to another person to obtain fraudulent financial gains.

The prosecution said some of the credit cards bore the names Nicole Louise Malyon and Timea Fedorne Tatar.

The alleged offence is contrary to Section 27(1)(b) and 33(9)of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act 2015 and punishable under Section 33(2) of the same Act.

The singer was arrested on May 10 following intelligence report which EFCC said it received about his involvement in Internet fraud.

The court premises were packed with supporters, as they hailed Naira Marley, who was brought by prison officials.

Some strained to catch a glimpse of the music star as he stood in the dock. He wore a black T-shirt and black trousers with his trademark dreadlocks.--Nation

Posted 31/05/2019 06:16:22 AM


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